Thursday, January 3, 2013

How to Afford to Be a Stay at Home Mom

It breaks my heart when I hear moms longing to be at home with their children but have to send them off to daycare everyday. It's the worst when after a too-short maternity leave a mom returns back to work daily in tears missing her baby.

Find out how you can afford to be a stay at home mom. www.growingslower.com #stayathomemom #savemoney

For many women, working full time is simply not a choice. Perhaps she is a single mom or the family budget is truly just too tight. For many of us though, we believe that being a stay at home mom isn't financially possible at first glance. However, if you've been longing to be a stay at home mom, a closer look at your budget may show it's more financially possible than you think.

It turns out working moms spend quite a bit of money just for the privilege of going to work. Once you take yourself out of the work force, you can save a surprising amount out of your budget.

Money saved by Not  going to work:

Taxes

When you're working, a big portion of your income goes to paying taxes. This will obviously vary depending on your household income, but it could be anywhere from 15-40% for federal taxes alone. State taxes vary up to 11% of your income. There's nothing like paying the government to go to work everyday. 

Daycare

Daycare is a huge expense for working moms. The average cost of daycare for one infant in the US is $1000 per month. Having additional children in daycare adds on even more. (Daycare)

Diapers & Formula

Many daycares do not allow the use of cloth diapers. If you're staying home, you can of course use cloth diapers instead of disposables and save $50-100 per month. It may also be more convenient for stay at home moms to exclusively breastfeed. (There are certainly many exceptions to this rule. One amazing mama from my La Leche League group just completed a full year of pumping at work!) If you do avoid buying formula you can save $150 per month.

Find out how you can afford to be a stay at home mom. www.growingslower.com #stayathomemom #savemoney

Eating out

It is no doubt exhausting to be a mom who works full time outside the house. It would be very tough to come home every night day in and day out and make dinner and pack a lunch for the next day. When you wake up exhausted in the morning, it would be really hard to drag yourself past Starbucks. If you had just one coffee, one lunch out, and one dinner per week, that could quickly add up to over $200 per month.

Clothes

When you don't have to keep up appearances at work everyday, you can spend less on clothes. You certainly don't have to look like a scrub just because you've become a stay at home mom, but you can set the standard and decide whether spending a lot of money on clothing is a priority for you. You can probably  dress a little more casually and at least avoid dry cleaning expenses.

No spend month Challenge Transportation

If you're careful, your transportation expenses could go down when you are no longer commuting daily to work. The average worker spends somewhere around $400 a month commuting. (Commute) If you pay for parking now, that will be another cost savings.

Money Saved by Being a Stay at Home Mom

Allow me to make some hypothetical assumptions about the average working mom and how much she could save by not going to work. The thing I'm obviously leaving out is health and retirement benefits. This can vary greatly depending on whether your spouse has a health plan you can join. If you have savings you may opt for an  health insurance plan with a high deductible to keep premiums more affordable. As for retirement, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make as I know I won't be at home forever and hopefully I'll be able to make up for it later in my career. Those two issues aside, you can see that there is a ridiculous amount of work related expense gobbles up most of a working mom's pay check.


$3000 monthly median income for women in the US
-$600 in taxes
-$1000 in daycare expenses
-$250 by cloth diapering and breastfeeding
-$200 by eating at home
-$50 on clothing and dry-cleaning
-$200 on transportation
______________________________________

$700 income

Make Up the Difference with Budget Reductions

As you can see there is a fairly small difference in income once you look at how much is saved by not going to work. You might be able to reduce other expenses through different lifestyle decisions to help make up the difference. (Here's a list of 97 easy ways to save money.) Could you cancel cable or shop around for a better insurance rate? Maybe you could choose to move to a more affordable home.

Then there is all of the indirect savings you could achieve by being a stay at home mom. Your kids won't be picking up every little illness going around when they're in daycare, and you won't be taking time off to take care of them or taking them to the doctor. If you're able to cook healthier meals at home instead of going out, that will also help get your entire family healthier and reduce medical expenses. (Here's how I cut my grocery budget in half without coupons.)

Make Up the Difference with Work at Home Income

Many stay at home moms supplement their income by working at home. The good news is you won't have to  make up 100 percent of your former income by working at home. As shown above, you are actually savings quite a bit of money by being a stay at home mom. There is relatively little left over that you would need to earn to make up the difference. You may be able to get contract work within your industry, or you may choose to try something completely new. When deciding your contract rate, be sure to account for paying your own taxes, insurance, and retirement. Also, factor in for paid time off that you would usually get with full time employment.

Everyone's individual financial situation is different, but I hope these tips have given you a new perspective on how you might be able to afford to be a stay at home mom. If you deeply desire to be at home with your kids, I believe you can make it work with a bit of determination!

Are you wishing to be at home with your kids? Are you making it work now? Please share your story in the comments.


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102 comments:

  1. Awesome post, Shannon! I am so glad that circumstances led me to become a stay at home mom, and I've found that all of what you've said here is right on.

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  2. Sadly none of this applies to me :( I'd love to leave my job. We already CD and use expressed breastmilk while I'm at work. I work opposite shifts as DH so we avoid daycare costs, I live 2 miles from my job so gas is a non issue, my scrubs are provided by my employer. Almost every cent is profit for me. I'd love to hear some ideas for becoming a WAHM!

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    1. It sounds like you're in the health care field? Maybe you could get training in transcription or billing and use your industry contacts to find contract work to do from home?

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    2. That's awesome that you and your husband work together. There's nothing wrong with baby spending time with Daddy. Maybe you can economize some other way and work fewer hours so you have some family and couple time?

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    3. We do this as well. I am currently enrolled in college working for my degree that hopefully I'll be able to be a WAHM with it but currently I take night classes, work at night, my significant other works days so we avoid day care, I pump at work and we cloth diaper. We're already cutting our phone line and switching our internet company. My work is 10 minutes away, as is his and we have a standard transmission car so gas is also a non issue. The sad truth is is that it just doesn't cut it. We need my paycheck. At least I get to stay home during the day with my son and he gets to spend a lot of time with his daddy but we really lack family time because of it. I couldn't tell you the last time I sat down to dinner with my significant other.

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    4. I became a jeweler for Premier Designs and do home shows. I would have to work 50+ hours a week at my old job as a Property Manager to make the same amount that I make in 12 hours of work in Premier. It's amazing! I never believed in DSAs and never dreamed of even hosting a party of any kind. But I have a friend who's been in the business for 6 years so I thought, "I'll give it a shot." I paid off my investment in 3 weeks (5 shows) and I'm making really good money. It sounds too good to be true but I stay at home with my amazing 2 year old boy and I get paid to have girls nights which helps me keep my sanity.

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  3. Great tips and so true that it can all work out with some tweaks and flexibility.

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  4. I am blessed to be able to stay home with my kids. Today is the perfect example of why - as I have 3 kids home from school and don't have to worry about childcare etc. But I know that I am LUCKY to have a husband who is supportive of this decision (even though we can't afford a lot of fun stuff...) and that we make enough to get by on a single income. I guess I'm just recognizing that I think it's a privilege. and I'm grateful for that privilege.

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    1. I feel the same way. I am a stay at home mother of three also. Every time money gets a little tight and we discuss me going back to work, the list of why it is a bad idea overwhelms us. Not to mention my children have very busy schedules and my husband works shift work. Our quality of life would reduce drastically. My children would go back and forth between home, school, and daycare; end of story. There would be no baseball, basketball, soccer, dance, band, and any other after school activities. We can't afford all the luxuries our friends have, but we have oodles of family time.

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  5. This offers some great tips! I lost my job shortly after my husband and I got married a few years ago. I wasn't able to find a job, and realized I'd rather focus on my home instead. We don't have children yet, but I am so thankful that my husband and I have already figured out how to live on one income. I am so thankful that when I have children, unless circumstances change, I'll be able to be a stay at home mom. Great tips, and thank you for sharing!

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    1. Same for me Monica. I decided to quit my job since it was crazy stressful and my husband and I are learning to live on one income now so that when we do have kiddos everything will be more organized and settled. My husband was not up for it at first, but once he started coming home to a clean house with dinner waiting he was hooked. He also started working with an older guy and his wife stayed at home with their kids and he told my husband how great it is to know that his kids are at home safe with his wife! That got to my husband as well!

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  6. My Children are 22 and 24 now. However, I was a stay at home for all of their lives. It is a choice if you are a 2 parent family for one of you to stay home. If you know you want children "someday" start saving one income as soon as you are married. If you need money for fertility treatments or adoption costs you will be so much closer. And not spending the second income will allow you to make the transition to being a family with a stay at home parent.
    In addition to the finances, being a parent at home with your children will be the best investment you can make in your children's future. Anything "taught" at day care and preschool can be taught by you, at sunday school, library time etc. Don't be pressured into the "preschool" is the best education. My son studied at Oxford University and is applying to doctorate programs now and my daughter is studying to be a vet. EVERYONE understimates how much it COSTS to go to work. Listen to this lady. She is SO right!!!! Good luck to all of you !

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  7. Start saving to be a stay at home mom as soon as you get married. That is wonderful advice! Even though I always knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom when I had kids, for some reason we didn't think to prepare and plan ahead as much as we could have. Luckily we did put away quite a bit of savings, but I know we could have done better and paid off more of our student loans.

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  8. A lot of people wonder how I afford to stay home with my kids. Luckily, we have a low mortgage payment for starters. But we also don't eat out, don't go out for coffee every morning, don't smoke, and have one cell phone with a $20/month plan. I hear people moan about having to go back to work after 1 year off, but they have a $600 stroller, Lulu lemon head to toe, the newest iphone..maybe if you weren't such a consumerist you could afford to stay home!

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    1. I'm a stay at home mom, with careful planning and such we have been fortunate to indulge in "consumerist" ways. Deprivation is never the way, but buying smart is. Craigslist and ebay has enabled us to have high name brands like the orbit stroller for a tiny fraction of the cost. It has also enabled me to to compare apples to apples so we are able to have luxurious without breaking the bank.

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  9. I certainly agree with the lady that staying with your kids as long as you can could be the best decision you will make. If we stop looking at material things that the society is offering we could afford to stay at home and rear up our children to the values that we treasure, I myself don't want stranger rearing up my child. If we just live modesty and plan we could step aside from our career for a few years. We can only have them for few years in a blink of an eye they'll be all grown up and starting their own lives.

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  10. I don't pay for daycare because my mom watches my daughter for free, and I work at home so I don't pay for transportation, meals, clothes, etc. My heart breaks because I can't stay home with my daughter but my husband barely makes enough to pay our mortgage payment every month. We have our second child due in August and I would love more than anything to stay home. I am pretty budget savvy and have gone over and over our budget, and all I can figure is that we will have to save for at least 4 years before we can afford for me to quit. Moving is not an option either because the housing market is so crappy around here that we would probably lose at least $20,000 on our house, which would defeat the purpose of moving. So I am totally trapped. Depressing, I know.

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    1. Hi Sarah! I'm so sorry you are trapped in this situation for now. I really encourage you to keep saving toward your goal. You just never know when something unexpected might happen to change your circumstances and let you stay home sooner than you think.

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  11. these are so true! i quit my job last year when my baby was born and i'm surprised by how much i don't spend. I'm more careful with my grocery budget and avoid going shopping just for shopping sake. i have more time to plan my grocery trips as well so there's less stop in through the week to pick up a few things and leave with a buggy full. I'm also amazed at how the jeans and tops i've had for years are great to wear daily now that i'm not needing dressier clothes. thanks fo sharing! it's not easy to put the stay at home mom out there sometimes...

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  12. I dont understand any of the buzzwords you used to describe yourself.website. But your math is right on! Imagine your take home pay once you have more than one child. What is your estimate of the break even point. I guestimate its between the 2nd and 3rd. By three, theres negligible point in distancing yourself from your children to work for no (net) money.

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    1. That's a great point! I would guess it is somewhere between 2 and 3 with the biggest factor being the cost of daycare. Most of the other expenses probably stay roughly the same from 1 to 2 to 3.
      If you're interested in learning more about this site, I encourage you to take a look at the right sidebar for the topics I write about: pregnancy and birth, parenting, do it yourself, being environmentally friendly, and saving money. Each of the four buttons on the side will take you to a list of past posts on that topic. Thanks!

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  13. I did this same math when my first daughter was born and it just didn't add up for me to go back to work. The extra stress it was going to cause on my family was another factor. We looked into regulations in our state and when she was about two I started watching three other children in my home along with my daughter. She had instant playmates and we had much needed income. I could deduct a huge amount of the expenses involved with being a daycare so I paid very little in taxes. I think what I ended up with net was about the same as I would have after the extra expenses involved with working. (We would have needed a second car, gas, insurance, etc. as well as all the expenses you listed.) It was insanely tight. We watched every penny. But we made it work.

    It's so hard when you feel trapped by circumstances. Sometimes you've cut everything you can and there is just no wiggle room to allow you to stay home. I wish everyone who has posted here that is in that situation the best of luck in figuring out the best path forward for their family.

    KT

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  14. I found that when I was working we spent more money. I would always 'justify' why I needed that new pair of shoes, or whatever. We are just as wealthy or poor as when I was working full time. NO, we don't have the fun things like i-phones, top of the line clothes, and we don't go out lots...but me and my family are so much more happy with me being home. My biggest wish is that ALL moms could stay home. I just don't know how working moms do it...KUDOS to them, cause I struggle with the daily things like homework, and dinner and I'm home most the day :)

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    1. I was the same way! "We just finished a big project, so I need to go shopping." Why I do not know because I don't even like shopping!! I guess I just felt the need to reward myself.
      Oh and I serious do not know how working moms do it. Really they are amazing! Don't forget though that staying home is a full time job too, and it is exhausting chasing after the kids all day! You're doing a great job!

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  15. This is great! My oldest was in daycare until she started school. My son was born when she was 6, and one day, when he was 9 months old, I came home and told my husband I quit my job. He about had a heart attack, because we could not pay our bills on one income. The next week, a friend asked me to keep her little girl. Four years later, I still have a daycare at my house. I am home with my babies, and make more money than my husband (thought he hates to admit it!)!
    As someone who keeps kids, I get to see what the kids go through. It is hard on them, to the point that they call me "mommy Em". I try my best to explain when they ask why mommy isn't here that they are helping their family, but it is heartbreaking. I could never put my kids back in daycare, even if I had to sell everything I own! My daycare kids are with me literally more waking hours than they are with their parents. 11 hours a day, usually. I feed them two meals a day, sometimes three. One I even bathe each day, because Mama "just runs out of time." I've been told "it is a good thing my kid has you, otherwise she wouldn't know what a mommy is!" I know not all moms are like that, but still, it is hard on the little ones.

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    1. I watch a 3 year old girl, and it breaks my heart every time she cries, "I just want Mommy." So thankful that my kids never have to feel that way.

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  16. This is great! My oldest was in daycare until she started school. My son was born when she was 6, and one day, when he was 9 months old, I came home and told my husband I quit my job. He about had a heart attack, because we could not pay our bills on one income. The next week, a friend asked me to keep her little girl. Four years later, I still have a daycare at my house. I am home with my babies, and make more money than my husband (thought he hates to admit it!)!
    As someone who keeps kids, I get to see what the kids go through. It is hard on them, to the point that they call me "mommy Em". I try my best to explain when they ask why mommy isn't here that they are helping their family, but it is heartbreaking. I could never put my kids back in daycare, even if I had to sell everything I own! My daycare kids are with me literally more waking hours than they are with their parents. 11 hours a day, usually. I feed them two meals a day, sometimes three. One I even bathe each day, because Mama "just runs out of time." I've been told "it is a good thing my kid has you, otherwise she wouldn't know what a mommy is!" I know not all moms are like that, but still, it is hard on the little ones.

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  17. I worked until my oldest was 6, and it killed me inside. When my youngest was 9 months old, I quit my job. I didn't even tell my husband, and he nearly had a heart attack when he found out! We could not pay the bills on one income! A week later, a friend asked me to keep her little girl while she worked. Three years later, I run a daycare from my home. I make more than my husband, though he hates to admit it!! I pride myself on loving and caring for each child as I do my own.

    I write this, not only as a mom, but also as someone who babysits. My "kids" are with me more waking hours than their parents...11 hours usually. I feed them 2 meals a day, often three, when moms work late and they eat supper with MY family. I see what the little ones go through. I hate hearing "Why is mommy gone", and "Can you tell my mommy to come home?", because no matter how I explain to a 3 year old that mommy is helping her family, it still hurts them. My "kids" call me "Mama Emmy". I have had moms call me in the middle of the night to ask me what they need to do to comfort their child. I had one mom who had no clue her child was potty trained! Obviously, not all moms are like this, just examples.
    After seeing what they go through, I would rather sell everything I own than to EVER go back to work. No matter how wonderful the care provider is, NO ONE is substitute for mommy!

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  18. Even being a work at home mom seems to cost money and unnecessary time. It's a great idea if you have to work and you want to be at home. I do it for that reason. But, thinking about it, if I wasn't working at home, I'd be doing the dishes instead. By doing the dishes, I wouldn't be fed up with the kitchen mess and wouldn't buy a pizza for dinner. $ saved. If I could spend more time with my kids, I wouldn't pay for Netflix to entertain them while I work. $ saved. If I didn't work from home (I am self employed), I wouldn't have to pay self employment taxes. $ saved. If I wasn't trying to meet a deadline, I would have lunch finished before I went to pick up the older kids from school and wouldn't run through McDonald's for my 4 year old on the way. $ saved. If I didn't work from home, I woulnd't NEED the internet and could cancel it. $ saved. If you don't absolutely have to work to make ends meet, I suggest not doing it! Your kids will love you for it! Makes me wonder why I am doing it......

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    1. I work at home also. I have found that getting up before the kids allows me time to plan. Getting the kids in bed before me allow me time to plan for the next day. Making food ahead of time, freezer meals that are ready to pull out of the freezer the night before & throw in the crockpot in the morning help with the meal situation. Make extra servings at dinner so lunch is already done, just heat it up. Planning is key to stay on track as a WAHM. I wish you the best in finding the way that works best for you & your family to keep connected & eat healthy.

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  19. After I had my second child I wanted to quit but it just didn't seem like the right thing to do (I'm very religious and it seemed like God was saying I still needed to work). My husband lost his job 9 months later so we were very blessed that I did have a job. At that point a friend (who is a stay at home mom) said the best thing to me. She told me it takes a very special person to be able to work full time and have a family full time. It made all the difference in the world to hear that. My husband found a job about a month later but here we are 5 years later and I was just able to quit my job after having baby number 3

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  20. I am a stay at home mom with one baby and another on the way. It has been very easy for us to stay at home, but we have no debt from student loans, no medical problems, and a very low standard of living. We both watched our parents, from the Material Generation, make lots of money and spend lots of money and be always broke. Now, we have a beatup car that we own, a house that isn't perfect but is well-loved, and always shop around before making any purchase. We have our little expenses to make us happy (my husband is an amateur bodybuilder and needs A LOT of food and I love Starbucks coffee), but we save so much money every paycheck my husband brings in. The hardest thing about being a SAHM is the social stigma, as it seems that now, being a SAHM is somehow a bad thing, anti-feminist, and maybe even for women of low education.

    I plan on going back to work part-time once my youngest is two years old and then full time once the youngest is five years old, just because I think it would be good for both my resume and the socializing of my children, but I will only do it if it makes financial sense, ie finding the right job to make a profit while still paying for daycare, gas, and food expenses.

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  21. I was finally able to come home from my full time job when my youngest child was a year old. As much as I wish I'd have been able to make it work when my older two were babies, I almost feel that they need me at home more now that they're older. I get to be active in volunteering at their schools, and I don't have to fight with a boss to take off work when they're sick, have parent/teacher conferences, class parties, dentist appointments, etc.
    Young moms, don't be discouraged if you can't come home just yet. And don't rush back to work as soon as your kids hit full-day school! I'm blessed to be able to "stay at home" (yeah, right...) with three busy kiddos in grade school thru jr. high, and I wouldn't trade these years for anything else.

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  22. I wanted to be a stay at home mom for my amazing little girl so, I have a daycare in my house. I get paid to let my daughter play with her friends from 8-5 every weekday. It was a great choice as I don't commute unless I take the girls to the park or zoo. I make all meals at home so the girls can have a yummy yet healthy lunch. And the girls all play well together and have fun.

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  23. I wish my spouse would read this. He knows how expensive it is for me to work and does not want our children with 'strangers', but when he is frustrated he blames me for 'not wanting' to work. I had a part time job cleaning, 3 day a week 3 hours a day. Which was awesome... BUT...he stayed with our daughter, which would have been ideal if he didn't sit her in front of the TV the whole time and not put her to bed ever, if I ever came home at midnight she would still be awake. We have 3 now and I stay with them, I would have no problem being a daycare, but our house is in need of a severe renovation, no middle-class trendy mom would be caught dead leaving her kids here, I have seen the looks on peoples faces when they come over. Sorry for the vent...it works out because I buy nothing for myself and cut my own hair etc... I dress like a thrift store bag lady and if I was still 20 I 'might' look cool. We have very little for bills and drive only one vehicle. A mom can only 'do it all' if she has support from family or friends, doing it all seems to be for appearances anyways because does anyone really 'want' the extra stress that goes with spreading yourself 'too thin'. I think we end up teaching our kids that 'things' are what is important than just 'being' with them. I resent being made feel like I am lazy because I am unable to do it all.

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  24. We've done all this so I can stay home but our biggest change in our finances was when we stopped buying anything commercial in food or other products like cleaning supplies. Just think how much you waste by buying commercial detergents when you can make your own better and cheaper. Pinterest is a great site to teach how to save money by making everything. My grocery bill is the same but with no junk food or packaged anything. We eat better also. Plus we homeschool which eliminates a lot of unnecessary expenses like endless school supply lists and picture taking. Seriously, do we need our kids pictures twice a year and in every activity. If we can do it anyone can. I worked outside the home for many unhappy years because I knew we were getting no where and the stress made us all cranny.

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  25. I am trying to figure this equation out, myself. I am a lead teacher in an early childhood center, so I have thought about "taking my work home with me" with an in home daycare. My children are 5, 12 and 15. For me the draw-back would be missing athletic activities for my middle child for the next year and a half. With the "baby" going into kindergarten in the fall, I might just opt for part time work during school hours. I did this before she was born and actually took home more money than when I worked full time as I saved on daycare and eating out. My house was also A LOT cleaner! :-)

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    1. That is such a good point! It doesn't have to be an all or nothing situation where you either work full time or are a full time stay at home mom. It sounds working part time would give you the best of both worlds.

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  26. I just have one at home during the day. I wish I could find something to earn a little extra $ at home. I was a drafter before I started staying home and there r no position to do from hone in that field here;(

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  27. What a great post! I always hear women say "oh I wish I could stay at home" and I sometimes want to say..well you could if you wanted...granted like you said some women do have to work to financially support or help their family...but others..with a little scarifice would be able to stay home. I am lucky enough to say at home..and I work from home, but if it ever came down to going back to work outside the home, or cutting back wherever possible. I'd do whatever it took to cut back!

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  28. What a great post! I always hear women say "oh I wish I could stay at home" and I sometimes want to say..well you could if you wanted...granted like you said some women do have to work to financially support or help their family...but others..with a little scarifice would be able to stay home. I am lucky enough to say at home..and I work from home, but if it ever came down to going back to work outside the home, or cutting back wherever possible. I'd do whatever it took to cut back!

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  29. We made a ton of budget cuts when I left my full time job. But I also dove into my Scentsy business more. My average party is $500, so if I have four a month, I'm making at least $600. It helps! If you're interested in working from home, on uour own time as your own boss, visit http:\\hayleebugs.scentsy.us

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  30. Agree. I couldnt quit my job entirely, but making some changes in our lifestyle, and working part time has really made it easier to spend more time with my little one.

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  31. When we took the plunge into being a one income family, we cut our income just about in half. My husband was not totally committed to this change, but we agreed on a trial run, knowing I might go back to work at least part time if necessary. I had one child at the time and, like so many moms, I hated leaving him in daycare. We moved into a less expensive house, but still have an average cost mortgage payment. Our vehicles are paid off, with no new cars on the horizon. We try to share one car (with the lowest gas milage,) when possible. We look for free or low cost activities/entertainment. We rarely eat out. Date night looks different, but still happens. We plan well in advance for vacations. Disneyland comes only after a few years of in-state camping or visits to family or friends where we can drive and have free lodging. We aren't shabby, but do make the most of what we have - from house wares to clothing - always opting to repair rather than replace if possible. I follow meal plans to avoid unnecessary shopping, use coupons when I can, garden a little, and am gradually learning the art of "do-it-yourself" for many things. In the almost 7 years since I left the work force, we've had another child, and are now home schooling both kids. They are both in activities - sports, music, etc, and do not go without. I don't deny having days where I feel like I want to have more money, to be able to give less thought to how I spend what I have. Then I see my kids, and it seems more like a gift than a sacrifice. Having grown up in a single parent home, I know there are situations where staying home is not a choice. Still, sometimes there is a choice. You have to be brave enough to give up some of the comforts you've grown to enjoy in order to truly live your values. I have yet to meet anyone who has, and regrets it.

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  32. I see your point here, but I have to shed light on some facts that you've ignored/ or overlooked that put many of us back in the work force. 1st and most important is health care. My husband works with hazardous materials, and while we would be able to live off his income alone, his job does not offer insurance benefits and many private insurances see pregnancy as a pre-existing condition. Most construction/labor positions do not offer any benefits at all, which leads me to number two. The 2nd is a retirement plan. Many jobs offer some sort of 401k or pension plan that helps if not covers us in our retirement years. We could never save enough from my husband's 401k/pension for both of us to retire and with both of us in our late 20's we're not counting on social security to still be around.
    If you have ways around these two obsticles, can't me in for the SAHM group!

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    1. You bring up some great points. I'm not all that well versed in the new health care law, but wonder if that would give you coverage. As for retirement, I agree that social security will probably be gone before I'm eligible, so the burden is on us to save. Have you looked into Roth IRAs? When I left my job, I rolled my 401K into one, and still try to max my contributions into it yearly. (We won't retire with millions, but we should be comfortable.)Also, remember that if you can find a way to make it work out staying home, you can go back to work when the kids are older or off to college. At that point, being used to living on one income, you'd probably be comfortable putting most of the 2nd income into savings/retirement. (That is the plan here.)Obviously every situation is different, and this is a huge decision. I hope that you can find a way. Good luck!

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  33. My husband and I have two children,since we had the 2nd I'm home all of the time now and I love it. I use to work 7 days a week and it's nice to be a housewife. I like that I'm raising my children and someone else isn't. Things are tight right now though, but I hope my kids appreciate it when they're older. We have a little bit of savings started for their college, but nothing too big. Once they're in kindergarten I'll be able to work at least part time.

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  34. I love this post. This is something I hear all the time with the moms I know and work with. Sharing widely!!

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  35. This is one big reason I work from home. I have 3 kids that would need childcare. I would be spending a lot more in gas and I know it would make me want to eat out more often. I am sure I would also want to hire someone to help clean the house. At the end of it all I make more from home.

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  36. I became a s@hm about 2 yrs ago. We knew that money would be VERY tight, but for us it was well worth it. I once asked my girls if they would rather have more "things" & more vacations AND have me working full time...they didn't even hesitate for a second. Their unanimous reply was this: "We want YOU, Mama!!!"
    For me, that was all I needed to "give up" that extra car, that 2 week vacation, getting my hair done every other month...do on and so forth.

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  37. I am the majority income in our family. This is a downside for me because I do not get to be a SAHM like I want! My husband recently became a SAHD though when his hours got cut at work (HVAC industry isn't very lucrative lately!). After the gas he spent to get to work and daycare costs, we were actually losing money!

    We are in the process of moving to South Florida, so perhaps in the hunt for new jobs he and I can switch roles???

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  38. Another important factor to consider is if your spouse loses his (or her) job. Going from 2 to 1 incomes is one thing, but from 1 to 0 is entirely another. Not suggesting that one can't be a SAHM, of course, but that it's also important to have an education and skill set so that if you are called upon to work outside the home, just on a temporary basis, you could do so to help.

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    1. I think there is a lot more to it than this... I liked the comment about healthcare and retirement. As parents we should consider the whole picture. Lets be honest if you have a good job with health care and retirement does it really pay you to stay at home? Maybe emotionally yes but financially probably not. Take into consideration there are other options besides spending 1,000 on daycare. In my area daycare is more like 300-900 depending on the time and care facility. Also many daycares allow cloth diapers to be used (yes you still have to wash them after work but still worth it), and you can always pump and send your own milk with your child's care giver. I get the point and I agree that spending time with your kids IS VERY important and worthwhile but for a lot of us working women staying at home full time costs just too much.

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  39. What a great post! We are expecting our first baby and I am praying that I will be able to stay home with him or her at least part time. Like many others, I wouldn't be paying for daycare as my Mom would watch our baby and I always brew my coffe at home, pack my lunch, etc. BUT my husband does not make enough to cover even 2/3 of our expenses (and I am taking about basics-rent, student loans, electricity, child support for his 2 other children, etc) and is not as gung-ho as I am about me being a SAHM. But having said all that, I do know that my future is in God's hands and that He will provide. Thanks also to the other commentors for some great tips. I fully believe that my most important job on this earth is to be a wife and mother and hope to be able to fulfill both roles to the best of my ability. Lots of love, prayers and good wishes to everyone here!

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  40. It makes me sad to read this. While helpful for the decently-paid, unfortunately not all moms and dads are. I know this was just meant to be a generalization for the folks that it applied to, but it can be a touchy topic, especially for those who really don't have that option and still believe that staying home with your child is the right thing to do.

    Would like to share my story, it’s a little odd: my husband and I married so early and had children so early - neither of us went to college. He made minimum wage "flipping burgers" and I stayed home because we both believed it was the right thing to do. We paid our rent in a tiny apartment, spent 20 dollars a week on groceries (and I can break down the list for any skeptics... believe me, these 15 years later, I still remember staring longingly at anything that wasn't on my pathetic little weekly list) and only paid 2 of the 3 bills every month - always rotating which one got unpaid so it would never get too high - electricity, phone, and gas (we considered a landline necessary with a child.) There was no such thing as going out to eat or buying silly things like clothes. No car payment - car was the same car bought when we were teenagers, no car insurance, no TV, no nothing. We did this for years without a cent from the government - no welfare, no food stamps, no nothing. I baby-sat when I could, but other than that, we were on our own.

    Family members were unsupportive, saying that I was lazy and should work if we couldn't afford our to pay our bills. I stayed home with our son until he went to Kindergarten, then found out I was pregnant again. This time around, I picked up minimum wage part-time work at night to help cover the cost of formula.

    That only lasted until he was off formula - then I stayed home with him until he was in Kindergarten.

    Now I ask you, the community, is it not money that allows a parent to stay at home with a child? We were not a drain on society - living off of others' taxes; I played with my children, I taught them and stayed with both of them essentially from birth to school, but I wouldn't wish that poverty on anyone. I think its so so sad that the decision to stay home to raise children is so often solely based on money. With the shrinking middle class, our stay at home moms and dads are becoming limited to only the wealthy.

    Obviously, my case is extreme: don't have children if you can't afford them. But for pete's sake! Families should NOT be so dependent on that second income and we, as a people, are!! You can cut back and cut back and cut back and for a lot of people, it is simply not enough!!

    Sorry to rant, but the subject is one I feel strongly about. I truly feel that if a parent believes that staying home with a child is the best decision, they should darn well be able to without living in abject poverty. I know, because I was there.

    To anyone interested in the happy ending: when both kids were in school, I entered the workforce full time, with "playing with toddlers" as pretty much the only thing on my resume. A friend's work had a job opening, and with no experience or education, they took a chance on me (network network network - you never know when an opportunity may come up) I worked there full time (no child care - the oldest was old enough to watch the younger for the 20 minutes after school until a parent came home) until we moved back to our hometown. That position gave me the experience to get hired at a large corporation, where I did such a good job that they hired my husband with no experience (remember - burger flipper - minimum wage) and he did well as well. We've both grown in our careers enough to have provided a very good life for our children - they are 17 and 12 and don't remember being poor at all. In fact, since we formed our "spending habits" as poor people, we really don't have an extravagant lifestyle, though we can afford to do so now. Our splurge is making sure our kids don’t want for anything.
    And we have car insurance :)

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  41. Another thing to consider, particularly for first time parents, are tax breaks. I went back o work for a few months after my first was born. We had worked our budget every which way, cut everything there was to be cut and still came up short, so I went back part time to make up the difference we needed. Then we realized that January that we would be getting a huge tax refund as my husband had never changed his withholdings from when he was single. We adjusted his withholdings so that he got larger paychecks (enough for me to stay home!!) and we only get a small refund now.

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  42. I found a great company that focuses on green living and being able earn an income staying home with your kids. Take a look at http://gs.momsprovide.com.

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  43. How does a single mother stay home? No income = no home.

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  44. I would love nothing more than to stay home with my child. I'm a single mom. I'm the only income. Would love any ideas!

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    1. My heart goes out to you! I do know one single mom who has managed to stay home with her little ones. I will have to get in touch with her and learn more.

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    2. You could always work from home either in a specific field or direct selling. That is what I do and have done for 2 years. You get what you put into it, and you do have to work hard ... but the end result is so worth it.

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  45. Thanks so much for the inspiring post. I've been working since the birth of my first child 4 years ago and then again when my second came along 2 years ago. During this whole time I've longed to stay home with them and now with my 3rd child due in September I think I will finally make it happen. Regarding taxes, according to our accountant, my husband can expect his income to go up by 17% because of the lower tax bracket we'll fall into without my income.

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  46. I am planning on working after our baby is born because hubby and I work at the same place and the university that we work at offers free daycare-college for our little one. If I didn't work here, we would have to try to scrape and save to send him to college and fork out $25,000 per year for four years. In this case, we are saving $100,000 (and double or triple that when we have more babies in the future) by working outside the home. I am truly blessed to be at this place and am happy that God gave us the opportunity to give our child a free Christian education. Plus, we all commute together, and the baby is across the street from me. I get an hour lunch and two 10 minute breaks to go see him and breastfeed, too. I know that I am a rare exception... I agree with this article... If you can (and want) to stay at home, go for it!!! But in my case, my job benefits my child in the long run by providing excellent education from birth-college. :-)

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  47. Wives can also be claimed as dependents on husband's income, which reduces the taxes on his income (meaning more money saved)!

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  48. Wives can also be claimed as dependents on husband's income, which lowers the taxes on husband's income (meaning more money saved)!

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  49. Love this precious post. I am becoming a SAHM starting Monday and have been super nervous about the missing income, but it no longer makes sense, especially with another little one on the way. I am all about couponing, budgeting, saving money. It gives me such a thrill! Once you start, you will never pay full price again! I also have a small online business called Swanky Baubles Boutique. I sell jewelry and accessories from the comfort of my home, and unlike other programs out there, the start up cost is NOTHING! It's really been rewarding a fun. I invite you to check it out, https://stephanie-b.kitsylane.com/offer/HTVL6Pz or find me on Blogger! Can't wait to read more of your posts. I need to subscribe :)

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  50. Excellent article! My husband and I tried me working out of the home and it was awful. I was grossing about $100 a month after daycare, transportation, bottles, disposables etc. And I was LUCKY if I hit the $100 mark. I work from home now selling Scentsy and it's a blessing. I make more than $100 a month lol.
    ALso other tips - make your own baby food or get into baby led weaning instead of buying processed baby foods. Pick up sewing and learn to make cloth diapers (If I can do it, a rooster could do it), learn the golden dinner machine the "crockpot" instead of going out to eat. hardly any prep, throw it all together and push "on" ... no worries for dinner while you spend all that precious time with baby and it's SO much cheaper.

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  51. We did this math several years ago when I was in graduate school. It turned out that it was worth ~$40,000 per year for my wife to stay home. Needless to say, she stayed home and instead got a child care license.

    One more point, you missed one point with regard to taxes. A married couple gets one standard deduction (if they take the standard deduction rather than itemize) whether there is one or two incomes. In effect, that means they get the standard deduction off of the first income, but the entire amount of the second income is taxed. For example, a family of four making $40K/year will have a taxable income of about $13K, and pay about $1300 in taxes. However, add in a second income of $35K and the taxable income increases to $48K and the tax increases to ~$6300. Besides the deduction issue, a second income is likely to push you into a higher tax bracket. The bottom line is that the tax burden on a second income is much higher than on the first income.

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  52. My parents were always in financial straits, my grandparents rarely were. I asked them one time when I moved out on my own and was struggling financially -- how do you two make much less than me but have no financial woes? My Gram looked me directly in the eye and said -- "the difference between us and you and your parents? We always tithe FIRST. We save SECOND. We pay our bills THIRD. If there is any left, we give and save some more." So I thought about it, and you know, she was right. Then I married a man who has lived by that all his life, and though times are not always easy, God has provided in some fun and unexpected/miraculous ways.
    Now, here is what comes next on being able to be a SAHM:
    I left my public school teaching career to be a stay at home mom when my first daughter was born (we now have four kids, are in our sixth year of marriage, and homeschool :). HOW IT WORKED FOR US: We wanted to start a family soon after we were married and so practiced living on one income the year I was pregnant and used all of my income to pay off our vehicle and credit card debt. After quitting my job, we garden, I cook 90% of our food from scratch (yes we make our own yogurt), hang clothes out to dry, and swap services with other homeschooling moms (I teach art and math my husband teaches physics and computer programming)and they babysit for me for free when I take my kindergartner to swim and violin lessons and sometimes they even help me clean.
    We put money toward priorities -- music lessons, outdoor gear, moving to a nice neighborhood (nothing like having bored lazy on parole neighbors hide behind trees and shoot at you and your house/windows for fun, thank GOD, HE got us out of there).
    We cut elsewhere - flip phones, no ipad/iphone, no data plans, no cable/satellite, get movies and books for free from the library,rarely eat out, take a vacation every few years instead of every year, buy clothes from thrift stores/yardsales, etc/
    To pick up extra spending money, we consign clothes when we grow out of them and I used to/could still sell artwork (I am a professional portrait artist, though I haven't done much after child number 2.) SOOO...
    Be faithful, be creative, and bless you all on your own endeavors.

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  53. I sew. I make cloth diapers, dresses, blankets, burp cloths. It started out that I made my own items for the kids. And a few for showers. And then people started asking for them. It's not a large profit. But it's the difference between having cable tv and internet or not. Or signing the kids up for a sport in the summer. And I get to do something I enjoy.
    We also don't buy anything new (aside from carseats/cribs). Everything is used. We do not have fancy cars. And I walk the kids to school everyday. We also do not buy school lunch. $2.25 a meal for two kids adds up. I pack there meals.
    For Birthday's and Christmas. We always have a "Big" party for the 1st birthday. And there after we have family parties. I have 4 siblings so they aren't really lacking the "special" time.
    Christmas is a big deal. And I save up all year for it. Everytime I come under in my grocery budget I put the money away. Or if my husband gets a bonus at work we put it away until we reach that magic number and then we do not touch it until Christmas time.
    Which comes to my husband, He is a good man. A hard worker! He always picks up the overtime. Or does odd jobs. He mows our elderly neighbors yard. When he started it was to be kind. And then she came out and said she would pay him $25 dollars every other week. Which turned into him scooping/snow blowing there sidewalks and drive ways when it snows. So, he brings home and extra $50 dollars a month.
    He has a cell phone. But I have the house phone. And a cheapo track phone in the car that only has so much time on it. In case there is an accident or something like that.
    We go out to eat 6 times a year. That's it. And that is on birthdays. My grocery budget is $400 a month for 6 people. And I usually come under. Planning and being prepared helps. I also do not take littles with me. I clean my grams house one day with the kids. And the next day she watches them while I go and shop. I price match EVERYTHING! And use coupons when I can. I also cook from scratch. I don't buy anything that is pre-done. So no soups, cookies, pizzas, graveys. It's hard to tell what they put in it and what the baby would be allergic to.
    I am a heater/air conditioner freak. It stays at a certain point. If your hot turn on the fan. If your cold cover up.
    And I make my own cleaning solutions. Aside from Shout. I buy that. But always have a coupon.
    Needless to say. I am very careful. And work just as hard as my husband does to keep things going while he is working. He comes home and has a warm meal. And his clothes are always washed. And he washes the dishes.
    My cup is always over flowing.

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  54. I sew. I make cloth diapers, dresses, blankets, burp cloths. It started out that I made my own items for the kids. And a few for showers. And then people started asking for them. It's not a large profit. But it's the difference between having cable tv and internet or not. Or signing the kids up for a sport in the summer. And I get to do something I enjoy.
    We also don't buy anything new (aside from carseats/cribs). Everything is used. We do not have fancy cars. And I walk the kids to school everyday. We also do not buy school lunch. $2.25 a meal for two kids adds up. I pack there meals.
    For Birthday's and Christmas. We always have a "Big" party for the 1st birthday. And there after we have family parties. I have 4 siblings so they aren't really lacking the "special" time.
    Christmas is a big deal. And I save up all year for it. Everytime I come under in my grocery budget I put the money away. Or if my husband gets a bonus at work we put it away until we reach that magic number and then we do not touch it until Christmas time.
    Which comes to my husband, He is a good man. A hard worker! He always picks up the overtime. Or does odd jobs. He mows our elderly neighbors yard. When he started it was to be kind. And then she came out and said she would pay him $25 dollars every other week. Which turned into him scooping/snow blowing there sidewalks and drive ways when it snows. So, he brings home and extra $50 dollars a month.
    He has a cell phone. But I have the house phone. And a cheapo track phone in the car that only has so much time on it. In case there is an accident or something like that.
    We go out to eat 6 times a year. That's it. And that is on birthdays. My grocery budget is $400 a month for 6 people. And I usually come under. Planning and being prepared helps. I also do not take littles with me. I clean my grams house one day with the kids. And the next day she watches them while I go and shop. I price match EVERYTHING! And use coupons when I can. I also cook from scratch. I don't buy anything that is pre-done. So no soups, cookies, pizzas, graveys. It's hard to tell what they put in it and what the baby would be allergic to.
    I am a heater/air conditioner freak. It stays at a certain point. If your hot turn on the fan. If your cold cover up.
    And I make my own cleaning solutions. Aside from Shout. I buy that. But always have a coupon.
    Needless to say. I am very careful. And work just as hard as my husband does to keep things going while he is working. He comes home and has a warm meal. And his clothes are always washed. And he washes the dishes.
    My cup is always over flowing.

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  55. I appreciate your article, but please be careful not to judge working mothers. Sometimes it is a choice to be a working mother, and in other cases it is a complete necessity. Your article has some good points, but in all honestly, we should all just do what we feel is best for our own families. What works for you doesn't always work for the next mother. We're all in this life together, and we're each doing our best to make it through.

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  56. I shared this post on my blog this morning. Everything you said has proved true in my experience as well. Thanks for writing! http://organizinglifewithlittles.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/my-favorite-finds/

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  57. I'm on the other end now, in my 50's. I quit working when my first child was born and it was worth every sacrifice we made. We lived modestly. We homeschooled which was a tremendous experience for our whole family. I always worried about how our kids would pay for college because we weren't able to save for that. We let our kids know early on they would have to pay for college themselves and worked on strategies to do that. Our oldest is attending a private college and has been able to avoid loans so far with scholarships, financial aid and working. She went into college with 30 AP credits, which will allow her to graduate a semester early. She works very hard academically and has a job. She doesn't have as much fun or free time as the other kids, but she is meeting her goal to become a math teacher. Our youngest is still in highschool and because of an "early college" program that combines highschool and college she will earn an associates degree from our community college one year after graduation. This only costs us books and transportation. My point in sharing this is that by planning, thinking creatively and hard work goals can be accomplished even expensive ones.

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  58. I am a stay-at-home mom. We live off of $2,000/month (we do have low housing costs--our mortgage is $425/month). It is not easy but God always provides what we need, and often much more than we need! To stay home there are definitely sacrifices in lifestyle but so worth it! I think the biggest challenge is trusting God to provide when you follow Him, doing what He wants me to do!

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  59. Awesome post! When my husband and I sat down and crunched the numbers, I would be making only $200 per month, so it was not worth it for me to work. We stopped paying cable and ate out once per month, as well as cut other expenses so it paid for me to stay at home ;-)

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  60. I'm 18 and my duaghter is 8 months since I got pregnant thankfully I have been able to quit my job and judt focus on me and babyy husband is 20 making 900 $ a week we have 2 cars and a big four bedroom home we have both made it work his parents gave us a new home and his 2013 truck i gues I was lucky with my inlaws

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  61. I'm still looking for information that will allow me to stay at home. :( I carry the insurance and my husband would have almost no income if he had to carry it (and the insurance would be less than what we have now). I work ten miles from home, don't have to dress up for work, and my mom watches my girls for far less than daycare costs. I also never produced milk, so breastfeeding has always been out for me. I guess I'm looking for that magic bean that would give me the ability to stay with my kids while they are little, but it doesn't exist. :(

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    1. I'm so sorry! I really wish I could offer a magic pill for affording to be a stay at home mom. Finding affordable health insurance seems to be the deal breaker for most families. I have been researching options. The new health care reform act seems to be helping people within a very particular income bracket, but not if your employer offers insurance. Ack! What type of work do you do? Could it convert into a freelance/ work at home type situation?

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  62. The hand that rocks the cradle... it is always worth it to stay home, I have been on both sides of the fence.. currently we home school our youngest too :-)

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  63. I was in retail sales for 12 years. I made a decision to be a WAHM before I was even pregnant. I started my own business working on the weekends and using my contacts to gain business. After I became pregnant with our little one, I was determined to be a WAHM and homeschool. We do not have everything. No TV-grocery budget decreased-I have not been shopping in I don't know how long--We have went the way of the ol'times and it is not always easy. Do able, yes, but not always easy. If you have a passion, create a business of it. Even if it takes a while before you can GET THERE to be a WAHM, it is possible with drive & determination. Each day do a little something towards the goal and eventually it will become a reality!

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  64. Great post, plus the 97 tips for saving money too! As well as many of the costs you mention, I found when I worked briefly between having my two children, the cost of hairdressers appointments was another factor I can happily drastically cut down on if I'm not working full time in a professional job! Now I only get a colour if I have a special occasion like a wedding to go to, probably once a year at most!

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  65. Reading this post makes me incredibly sad. I desperately want to stay at home with my baby, but I make nearly 3 times what my husband does and it is just not feasible as we would like to live in our current house and have things like food and clothes. I love my husband and my baby, but I feel awful that I can't be at home with my son.
    That being said, this post is great for other in different positions!

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  66. Not to mention I carry the health insurance and it's only $82/week for the whole family. I already cloth diaper and breastfeed (expressed milk while I'm at work) so we are already saving that money. I'm also becoming a cloth diapering consultant to help with a bit of extra spending money, but it certainly won't make up enough to quit my job :(

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  67. I have always worked full time. I grew up in a 2 income household, my grandmother worked full time outside the home. I cannot think of one single stay at home mom in my extended family. I don't really know what it's like and don't think I know how to be a stay at home mom! I would get bored and probably go nuts. I actually did get bored towards the end of my maternity leaves. I got too OCD about house cleaning and got on everyone's nerves. In a perfect world, I would work part time, but I will never not work outside the home. I am one of those people who wants to have a career AND a family. Keeps me in good mental balance and makes me really appreciate family time.

    My husband has been mostly unemployed for about 4 years now, leaving me as the primary breadwinner. I carry the health insurance ($250/month for the whole family), retirement savings, and pension. I am in grad school and my employer is paying for 75% of my master's degree. My husband is a stay at home dad so we have no childcare expenses. 2 of the 3 kiddos are at school all day, we have 1 more year of preschool for the 3rd. No more diapers or formula. I am in healthcare so I wear $12 scrub pants and $8 tshirts to work. We have no car payments. I meal plan and make a homecooked meal for dinner 6/7 nights a week. While the finances are tight and that causes some stress, I am so thankful to be in this position!

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  68. I am so grateful that I found this website! I am currently in the process of switching from a working mom to a stay at home mom. I make double the income of my husband and really afraid to quit my job because of the income loss. I have been bless to find a job working from home (making half of what I am now). I know that God will make a way for my family to make this work. I find it so fulfilling to be able to homeschool one of my children (two in the fall) and be home for the third when she gets home in the afternoon.
    I am looking for ways to save additional money around the house and this website has really given me a jump start! Thank you Thank you Thank you!

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    1. I know from experience, you are on the threshold of a huge leap of faith! Such an exciting and scary time! I pray this will be a great thing for your family and that God will continue to provide everything you need. I also just wanted to say, I appreciate so much that you took the time to comment. It seriously just made my week that all the many hours and passion that I have poured into this blog have helped and encouraged you.

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  69. This makes me really sad. I've wanted to stay at home, but it just isn't an option for us. Both my husband and I work full time, his mom keeps the baby and pays for food/diapers while he's there. We shop thrift stores when we do buy clothes and we have no dry-cleaning bills. We both take lunches from home and only work about 17 miles from our house. We've switched our providers to the lowest priced options and neither of us have fancy phones. With our monthly bills and the few expenses we do have it's been a struggle to come out on top and save a little each month.
    It sounds like an easy thing to do, but sadly, it just doesn't work for everyone. By the time we would ever be able to do this, our little will be well into school.

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  70. Another great tip is for couples to not spend money on a lavish wedding. Have a simple wedding and use that money to stay home for a year with your first baby!

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    1. That's a fantastic tip! When I heard that the average cost of a wedding in the US was around $25k, I was floored. It's easy to get caught up in the wedding preparations, thinking about finances early on will really make a marriage a success long term.

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  71. I wish I made the $3,000 a month ! I barely make $700 right now and if I quit we won't have an apartment over our heads .Summers here in the phoenix area are brutal because the snowbirds leaving taking the money and possible hours you can work in retail with them. I really feel that God wants me to stay at home but until my husband can find a job that pays more if we don't work we won't be able to eat , pay bills or have a a place to live .While your article is great for wives with husbands who have steady jobs that pay more the 9$ an hour ,unfortunately for the rest of us we need to work to have roofs over our heads .I can't even afford to buy fabric and start a business , I can't buy a home and turn it into a day care .We don't have many options as my husbands going to school . we are frugal , we dont eat out much we don't have cable,just internet and a phone and one paid off car .I make my meals and take them with me to work. I've cut every expense i can think of and we plan on breast feeding and cloth diapering .baby is due in December . I am worried and want to stay at home but can't .I trust God wil provide but we have to work as much as possible untill my husband can find a higher paying job .

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  72. I feel awful for the situation I have put our family in. With over 70k a year in income I make far more than the $3000 a month shown here, and unfortunately we have the house and lifestyle to go with the higher income. To stay home would mean cutting our income by about 60% I would be willing to make a lot of sacrifices, but with the housing market, I can't really sell right now, and if we did, the rental market in our area is higher than owning. I am desperately looking for ways to stay at home with my children #1 is 18 months and #2 is on the way. We're planning on having three and I thought maybe if I could get our vehicle paid off before #3 comes that I will be able to stay at home until they are in school... (I was putting extra on my husbands work truck and we got it paid off 3 years early.) I really hope I can accomplish this, I never knew I would want to be a SAHM, but once my little baby bear came along, everything changed, and my career that I had worked so hard for didnt seem so important anymore. :(

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  73. Does anyone know of any good stay at home mom jobs that don't have upfront fees and that aren't scams? I'm currently a stay at home mom but we need a little bit more of an income just for utility bills mainly. My fiancés income pays for rent and our truck payment.

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    1. In home daycare. Even just one child can bring in $200 a week that after you make all you deductions, is tax free. Plus, there is a Federal Food program that pays for you daycare food, and for your children's food during daycare hours. Check your state web page for how to get going.

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  74. Wonderful article! Thank you for sharing. I just went back to work after 12 weeks at home with my sweet baby. I have a wonderful boss and job (allowing me to work 30 hrs/wk in the office only 3 days, and working a few hours from home on the other 2 days), but I still find it very hard to leave her on those days. She splits time away from me with the 2 grandmas and daycare. I know I am blessed to not have to work in the office 5 days per week, but I feel like I'm working twice as hard now for less hours and $. I too am struggling with the thought of giving up a great career (not so much the career, but my position and my wonderful boss). My daughter is way more important than my job; however, I'm mindful that if I leave the workforce for a few years, when I need to go back to work and she (and perhaps future siblings) is in school, I won't make as much. I also struggle with people's comments about how daycare is good for her, it's good for her not to need mommy so much, be around other kids, etc. My mom stayed home with me and my brother, as did my mother-in-law with my husband and his sibling, and we all turned out to be social "normal" adults. I've been praying about it a lot but it's just a tough decision overall. I wonder, would the stress of having to pinch pennys to stay at home be as tough as the stress to work and leave her all the time? I also feel like my home is never clean anymore, and I can't imagine having another child...I barely have time for mine now! Perhaps it's the fact that I'm a little sleep-deprived, as she still doesn't sleep more than a couple of hours at the time...forgive my rambling :) anyway, thank you again for posting!

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  75. When I was expecting my last son, I knew his father would not stick around. I had a professional job that was both growing and very promising. It broke my heart to think of putting my son in daycare, and not being able to nurse and spend the time with him I did with my other two. (I was home for a least a year for the other two boys.)

    After looking into daycare options, I decided to look into starting my own in-home daycare. It would mean moving, and finding a landlord that would be willing to not only allow my three sons to depreciate their house, but 8 more daycare kids! Eventually I found a not so nice apartment in a good neighborhood, so I fixed it up to make it suitable.

    A year later, my sons were able to attend private school, private music lessons, tutors, etc. Twelve years later, I bought my own house, with no partner, or family.

    If you want something bad enough, you will find a way to make it happen. It wasn't all joy, the first two years were so rough, but I am glad I made the change.

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  76. I am a working mother. Full time employee/ full time mommy. Although you may not consider me full time mommy because I'm working full time, it does not mean that because I am away from them that what I do is not for them! I work for an amazing company that, yes, I do have to spend time away from my kids 40 hrs a week but it IS job security for not only myself but my
    children. They get the best healthcare, dental, vision care I could have ever dreamed of for them. Mommy DOES get the privilege of earning the income to buy them the things they not only NEED but they DESERVE. And not feel guilty of it. I feel empowered as a WOMAN that I can do this on my own for my children even if things don't last forever with my husband because let's face reality. .. These days it's hard to say love lasts forever. So while most of you women are stating that us working mom's are strong and you can't imagine being away from your kids, me as a former stay at home mother would say that as much as I love my children I wouldn't have my life any other way! I enjoy having adult conversations daily and still being blessed to be able to come home and eat dinner and tuck my babies in bed. Just because us working mom's work, doesn't make us any less of a full time mom than a stay at home mom. Everything us working mom's do is FOR them. we just get the perks of living two lives. We can still be empowered women and mothers! After all, we are still individuals with dreams, even before we became mothers and for me it will not be thrown in the backburner! We only get one life!! ♡

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  77. That's still $700 more then then what you didn't have. And in this economy every bit counts. Unless you make less then $3000/month. Then it might be worth staying home

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  78. This is great stuff! Thank you. But I don't know anyone in my state paying $600 Max for infant childcare a month.

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  79. My baby is 23 now and I was a stay at home mom her whole life. I was able to supplement our income with a part-time, at-home job when she got a little older. I had friends who used to tell me how lucky I was that I could stay home - and all these friends had big houses, fancy cars, cable tv, toys like boats and snow mobiles ... all things that we did without gladly. It just depends on how bad you want it. It was well worth it!

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  80. I would add to make the most of gift-giving occasions - ask for diapers, wipes, clothing - instead of toys/baby blankets/anything superfluous. A lot of things you don't need for baby right away and can be put off until holidays, etc. Here is an example of a Christmas list that I put together for my boys, who will be about 9 months old at Christmas time... it has partially necessities and partially fun things for them - http://bit.ly/1lEbYO1

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